Firefox 15 may be the most important release of Mozilla’s browser to date. For what seems like forever now, Firefox has had issues with memory. Certain add-ons, when installed, would eat up massive chunks of memory and slow Firefox down to a crawl. There was no solution unless each app was fixed separately. The latest Firefox release includes a new universal solution.
Firefox 15 has exited its beta phase and is ready for everybody to install right now. The big update in the latest version is that applies a universal solution that will fix all of the memory problems caused by add-ons. I’ve been using the beta for the past few weeks and I can confirm that memory usage is at its all time low for me.
In other major updates, Firefox 15 finally features silent, background updates. From now on, Firefox will be more like Chrome by installing updates without asking you to close the browser. The browser also features support for the SPDY protocol v3 for even faster Web browsing.
Firefox 15 is also fantastic for HTML5 gaming as it features a number of WebGL enhancements, including texture compression. We’ve already covered the gaming additions to Firefox earlier today, but just know that it’s quite impressive.
Like with every new desktop release, Firefox on Android also received a major update today. The team at Mozilla will be focusing on making their Android app even better for the rest of this year so expect the latest version to be a preview of what’s to come.
First up is a redesigned Firefox for tablets. It’s the same design that Firefox unleashed upon Android phones a few months ago. I’ve been using the redesign on my Android phone and it really does make a world of difference.
Beyond the tablet redesign, the new version of Firefox for Android features almost all the features that are in the desktop version. That includes an enhanced search in the Awesomebar, tabs that can be swiped to close and a host of HTML5 features that bring the mobile browser up to modern standards. In fact, Firefox 15 for Android is finally able to pass RIng 0 on Ringmark with flying colors. It also passes 136 tests in Ring 1 while only failing 26.
Finally, Firefox for Android supports SPDY protocol v3 for fasting browsing. I haven’t been able to test Firefox on my 30 Mbps downstream Wi-Fi at home yet, but it does seem faster on my 3G connection at the moment. That could be due to reduced latency or interference on AT&T’s end, but I’m willing to bet that Firefox 15 for Android is faster than previous incarnations.
As of now, Firefox 15 is looking to be the version that might get people back. Mozilla has fixed a lot of speed and memory problems that people were having with the browser a few years ago. The addition of WebGL and HTML5 APIs that are still missing from Chrome’s stable channel is a definite plus as well. If you’re feeling up to it, you can try out Firefox 15 for yourself right here.